CP illustrations: Abbie Adams
For new or interested patients, navigating the world of medical marijuana can be intimidating. What are the best products for pain or anxiety? How should you take it? What dispensaries are available, and where? Pittsburgh City Paper spoke to local patients and cannabis product reviewers about what works for them.
Jen Webster, founder of Keystone Buds
Medical marijuana patient since March 2018 as treatment for chronic back pain and mental stress related to a failed microdiscectomy
I find the most relief from indica concentrates and indica dry flower. Concentrates tend to be a higher percentage of THC and you have more control over how much you consume at once. They can quickly knock out my back pain and spasms completely. Dry flower, what most people simply call “weed,” is my nighttime way to relax before bed. Everyone is different, but for me, flower creates a much more relaxing experience overall.
In addition to physical relief, it helps a lot with the mental stress of always being in pain. Daytime use is a little bit different. I need to be alert and fully functioning. My go-to is an oil cartridge vape pen. It takes off the edge enough that I can tolerate my physical discomfort. [It is] also significantly easier to use. Just twist the cartridge onto a battery and you’re ready to go. A good hybrid (both sativa and indica) strain can keep me going while also relieving the radiating pain in my back.
A good place to start is the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Education Center on Penn Avenue. You can check them out at pammec.org. Keystone Buds is available for anyone to send questions if they would prefer to speak in private. We can also help people get hooked up with the right resources. A lot of certification centers are available for telemedicine certifications. I know Medical Marijuana Specialists are participating in that (mms4relief.com). Even the pa.gov mainpage has a link for medical marijuana information.
Youtube: PA Medical Kushy Carlock
Medical marijuana patient since October 2018 as treatment for chronic back pain and drug addiction recovery
I’m a concentrate guy. I love dabs, you don’t need much (a dab will do you). [I] love indica strains with high THC and CBG (cannabigerol). CBG is great for my back pain, really helps. There’s [an edible] product called RSO (Rick Simpson oil) I highly recommend for patients dealing with opioid problems or pain management, but be careful, [it's] super powerful.
I found out I’m not a big sativa fan, some strains just make me too awake. I try to stick to the indica. … [For] new patients that never tried medical cannabis, I would definitely recommend an indica strain to start.
My go-to spot is [CY+ Dispensary] in New Kensington. It's the closest to me. If you're looking for variety, the Healing Center in Monroeville has a big selection. The Education Center on Penn Avenue is the best place to stop if you have any questions [about] what strain you would like [or] how to get a medical card.
Sean M. Radziminski, head cashier at Smoke Glass & Vape in Brentwood and Dormont
Medical marjuana patient for eight months as treatment for chronic pain, migraines, anxiety, and depression
CP illustrations: Abbie Adams
I personally prefer concentrates, that’s what works well for me. I also use the vape cartridges because depending on where you are and what you're doing, it’s easy to medicate that way. The medical effects last longer for me.
I recommend Maitri Medicinals [in East Liberty]. I still have to visit a few more in the area. I go to Maitri and also CY+ Dispensary in the Strip District.
Alexa Loveridge, employee at Dinner By Heather
Medical marijuana patient since October 2018 as treatment for symptoms related to traumatic brain injury and post-concussion syndrome, including migraines and vomiting
I like flower because it's tried and true, and let's be honest, the program is expensive, so by vaping my flower, I can save the already vaped bud for infusing into butter.
I enjoy cartridges because they're convenient, discreet, easily accessible, tasty. I have come to love dabbing concentrates. I started with a dab pen, and now I have a High5 E-Nail for temperature-specific dabbing. When all else has failed to quell my pain or keep my stomach in its place, time to do a dab! [And some edibles], whether it's homemade gummies, or dropping some infused coconut oil in my morning coffee.
Strainwise: My migraines and headaches respond well to Durbans, Girl Scout Cookies, Cherry, and Sour Diesels. I like to try different strains outside of those staples because sometimes I'm surprised, and find something that helps my muscles and back relax. … Turns out my back pain responds really well to things that have high CBG.
Maitri Medicinals is my favorite. Delta 9 just opened up recently, and it's in my neighborhood, which is convenient af.